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MediaTek chip guide: All you need to know about MediaTek processors
Taiwan-based MediaTek traditionally plays second fiddle to silicon rival Qualcomm, but the company’s mobile chips are in scores of phones around the world. Figuring out the naming conventions and capabilities of these MediaTek processors can be a little daunting, though.
Don’t fret, as our MediaTek chipset guide tries to break things down for you. Read on for all the information you’ll need on MediaTek processors.
Flagship MediaTek 5G chipsets
MediaTek’s latest high-end 5G processors are the Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100, announced in January 2021. The two SoCs have several features in common, such as a similar octacore CPU (four Cortex-A78 and four Cortex-A55), the same GPU (Mali-G77 MP9), a 6nm manufacturing process, and the Helio M70 modem with sub-6GHz 5G support.
Other notable shared features include Wi-Fi 6, 5G+5G dual SIM, Bluetooth 5.2, and 4K/60fps video recording. Unfortunately, the processors don’t offer 8K recording capabilities, as we’ve seen with Samsung and Qualcomm’s top-end SoCs. 8K TVs are far from mainstream just yet, so this is an understandable omission.
The chipsets also support ray-tracing, which is a graphical technique used to create more realistic lighting and reflections. MediaTek confirmed that this is a software-driven approach, so don’t expect PC-like ray-tracing effects in mobile games that support this option.
The Dimensity 1200 is the more capable chipset, as it boasts a tri-cluster arrangement (one Cortex-A78 core clocked at 3GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores at 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores at 2GHz), support for refresh rates up to 168Hz, mildly upgraded machine learning silicon, and support for 200MP cameras.
|MediaTek Dimensity 1200||MediaTek Dimensity 1100||MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus||MediaTek Dimensity 1000C|
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:1x Cortex-A78 @ 3GHz
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:4x Cortex-A78 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:4x Cortex-A77 @ 2.6GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 2GHz
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:4x Cortex-A77
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:Arm Mali-G77 MP9
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:Arm Mali-G77 MP9
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:Arm Mali-G77 MP9
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:Arm Mali-G57 MC5
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:168Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:144Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:144Hz at FHD+
90Hz at QHD+
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:120Hz at FHD+
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:Helio M70 5G
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:Helio M70 5G
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:Helio M70 5G
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:2.3Gbps download, 1.2Gbps upload
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:200MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:108MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:80MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:64MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 1200:6nm
MediaTek Dimensity 1100:6nm
MediaTek Dimensity 1000/1000L/1000 Plus:7nm
MediaTek Dimensity 1000C:7nm
Meanwhile, the Dimensity 1100 features a two-tiered CPU layout (four Cortex-A78 cores at 2.6GHz, four Cortex-A55 cores at 2GHz), support for refresh rates up to 144Hz, the firm’s APU 3.0 machine learning tech, and support for 108MP cameras.
In other words, we’re expecting the Dimensity 1200 to power flagship-tier devices while the Dimensity 1100 will likely power upper mid-range phones.
However, one rather curious choice is the fact that both processors offer the same Mali-G77 MP9 GPU that was in last year’s flagship silicon. And this wasn’t as powerful as the GPUs seen in last year’s Samsung and Qualcomm flagship SoCs. So those who value gaming performance will be better served by rival high-end processors from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, and Huawei. In fact, even phones with last year’s Snapdragon 865 will likely deliver better gaming results.
Prior to these new MediaTek chips, the firm’s latest and greatest processor was the 7nm Dimensity 1000 and 1000 Plus. The chip series first arrived inside phones last year, and marked the company’s first flagship processor since 2017’s Helio X range. Prominent features include an octa-core CPU (4x Cortex-A77 and 4x Cortex-A55), integrated 5G modem, 5G+5G dual SIM, a Mali-G77 MP9 GPU, and a six-core APU.
Other notable features include support for Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, 80MP cameras, 4K/60fps video recording, 144Hz refresh rate support, and support for the AV1 codec.
Expect MediaTek's flagship processors to lag behind the likes of Qualcomm when it comes to graphical performance.
The Dimensity 1000L was also launched early last year, which differs from the standard Dimensity 1000 SoC by offering lower clock speeds, according to MediaTek. The chipmaker then launched the Dimensity 1000C chipset in September, and it’s more like an upper mid-range chipset rather than a full-fledged flagship. The 1000C is essentially a hybrid of the Dimensity 1000 series’ flagship silicon and the mid-range Dimensity 820.
The Dimensity 1000C delivers the flagship’s octa-core CPU layout, featuring four Cortex-A77 and four Cortex-A55 cores for top-end CPU performance. But the GPU has seen a downgrade to the Dimensity 820’s mid-range Mali-G57 MP5 graphics, while the four-core APU is also a drop from the six-core machine learning silicon seen in the Dimensity 1000 series.
High-end Dimensity processors haven’t usually seen the same level of adoption as Qualcomm’s flagship processors, but the Dimensity 1200 series has enjoyed more success so far than previous entries. This success came despite Qualcomm launching the Snapdragon 870 in 2021, ostensibly to give OEMs a cheaper flagship option in addition to the top-end Snapdragon 888. The Snapdragon 870 is essentially a mildly upgraded Snapdragon 865 Plus.
One big win for the Dimensity series was the T-Mobile LG Velvet, featuring the Dimensity 1000C silicon. But we also saw a major win in 2021 when OnePlus adopted the Dimensity 1200 for the Nord 2 mid-ranger earlier in 2021. Another notable 2021 device running a Dimensity flagship chipset is the Xiaomi 11T.
Notable flagship phones:
Mid-range 5G chipsets
MediaTek also launched mid-range 5G SoCs in 2020, starting with the Dimensity 800. The processor was quite powerful on paper, featuring four Cortex-A76 CPU cores and four lightweight Cortex-A55 cores. This is a departure from arch-rival Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 series, which features two Cortex-A76 cores (plus six A55 cores).
Other noteworthy features include a Mali-G77 MP4 GPU, the Dimensity 1000’s Helio M70 5G modem (that means no mmWave), 90Hz support, a four-core APU for machine learning, and up to 80MP single-camera capture.
Mediatek would go on to launch the Dimensity 810 in 2021 as well. This is essentially a downgraded Dimensity 800 in many ways, but uses a smaller 6nm process instead of the previous chip’s 7nm design. The Dimensity 810 enjoys a slight CPU clock speed boost but opts for a 2+6 octa-core arrangement compared to the 4+4 setup seen on the previous chipset. Other specs include up to 64MP single-camera capture and a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU that’s less capable than the Dimensity 800’s GPU.
|MediaTek Dimensity 800||MediaTek Dimensity 820||MediaTek Dimensity 900/920|
MediaTek Dimensity 800:4x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Dimensity 820:4x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:2x Cortex-A78
MediaTek Dimensity 800:Arm Mali-G77 MP4
MediaTek Dimensity 820:Arm Mali-G57 MC5
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:Arm Mali-G68 MC4
MediaTek Dimensity 800:3.5Gbps download
MediaTek Dimensity 820:TBC
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:2.77Gbps download
MediaTek Dimensity 800:80MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 820:80MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:108MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 800:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 820:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 800:7nm
MediaTek Dimensity 820:7nm
MediaTek Dimensity 900/920:6nm
These aren’t the most powerful mid-range Dimensity 5G chipsets though, as MediaTek launched the Dimensity 900 and Dimensity 920 earlier this year. Both have an octa-core design featuring two powerful Cortex-A78 CPU cores and six Cortex-A55 cores, as well as a Mali-G68 MC4 GPU.
The Mali-G68 is identical to the flagship-level Mali-G78 GPU but scales to six shader cores, while anything with seven or more cores is called the Mali-G78. In other words, you’re getting a good chunk of GPU power with these two processors.
The Dimensity 900 and 920 also deliver 5G+5G dual-SIM support, sub-6GHz 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, and a third-generation APU. Other notable specs include support for a 108MP single camera, up to four concurrent cameras, 4K HDR recording, FHD+ display resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and AV1 decoding.
MediaTek also delivered the Dimensity 820, Dimensity 800U, and Dimensity 720 processors in 2020, and they all generally sit below the Dimensity 900. The former is a Dimensity 800 upgrade, featuring a Mali-G57 MP5 GPU, higher CPU clock speeds, and 5G+5G dual SIM. The Dimensity 800U, on the other hand, is essentially a Dimensity 800 variant, offering 5G+5G dual-SIM but cutting back on the GPU front (Mali-G57 MC3).
|MediaTek Dimensity 810||MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U||MediaTek Dimensity 700|
MediaTek Dimensity 810:2x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:2x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Dimensity 700:2x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Dimensity 810:Arm Mali-G57 MC2
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:Arm Mali-G57 MC3
MediaTek Dimensity 700:Arm Mali-G57 MC2
MediaTek Dimensity 810:2.77Gbps download
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:2.77Gbps download (Dimensity 720)
2,3Gbps download (Dimensity 800U)
MediaTek Dimensity 700:2.77Gbps download
MediaTek Dimensity 810:64MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:64MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 700:64MP single
MediaTek Dimensity 810:N/A
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:APU 3.0
MediaTek Dimensity 700:N/A
MediaTek Dimensity 810:6nm
MediaTek Dimensity 720 and 800U:7nm
MediaTek Dimensity 700:7nm
Meanwhile, the Dimensity 720 dips below the 800 series in terms of capabilities, packing a Mali-G57 MC3 GPU and a less powerful octa-core CPU design (2x Cortex-A76 rather than 4x Cortex-A76). It also tops out at a 90Hz refresh rate and lacks Wi-Fi 6 support.
The latest low-end 5G chip from MediaTek is the Dimensity 700 (announced in November 2020), and it has a lot in common with the earlier Dimensity 720. But the big difference here is in the GPU, as it offers more budget-focused Mali-G57 MC2 graphics. It also seems like the new chip lacks machine learning silicon. It’s not all bad though, as the Dimensity 700 sees slightly higher CPU clock speeds and dual-SIM 5G support.
The mid-range and budget Dimensity processors haven’t landed in as many high-profile phones as Qualcomm’s mid-range 5G silicon. But it’s still seen landed in a healthy number of phones.
MediaTek’s bread and butter isn’t in flagships though, as it’s a major player in mid-range segments and below. But its mid-range segment has been shaken up somewhat thanks to the arrival of a new chipset family.
MediaTek Helio G
The MediaTek Helio G series is the newest family of processors in the chip designer’s portfolio, focusing on gaming and general performance on a budget. All of these chips sport the firm’s HyperEngine technology for smoother gaming performance.
The Helio G90 and G90T were the first chips in the series, packing an octa-core CPU (two Cortex-A76 cores plus six Cortex-A55 cores) and Mali-G76 quad-core graphics. This means you can expect good system and gaming performance on paper. In fact, our own testing revealed that the G90T-equipped Redmi Note 8 Pro edged out the Snapdragon 730-toting Redmi K20 in benchmarks.
Other Helio G90 series specs include 12nm designs, simultaneous 2.4Ghz/5Ghz WiFi connections, up to 10GB of RAM, 64MP camera support, and an APU for machine learning.
|MediaTek Helio G96||MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95||MediaTek Helio G70/80/85|
MediaTek Helio G96:2x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95:2x Cortex-A76
MediaTek Helio G70/80/85:2x Cortex-A75
MediaTek Helio G96:Mali-G57 MC2
MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95:Mali-G76 3EEMC4
MediaTek Helio G70/80/85:Mali-G52 MC2
MediaTek Helio G96:TBC
MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95:APU 2.0
MediaTek Helio G70/80/85:N/A
MediaTek Helio G96:108MP single
MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95:64MP single
MediaTek Helio G70/80/85:48MP single
MediaTek Helio G96:Cat-13 LTE
MediaTek Helio G90/G90T/G95:Cat-12 LTE
Up to 1Gbps downlink
MediaTek Helio G70/80/85:Cat-7 LTE
Up to 300Mbps downlink
MediaTek followed up with the Helio G95 in September 2020, and it’s essentially a slightly upgraded Helio G90T. It mainly differs from the previous chipset by offering a 100Mhz clock speed boost to the GPU (from 800Mhz to 900Mhz).
The company also announced the Helio G96, and it looks like a pretty big upgrade for the most part. It brings a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU, 120Hz refresh rate, 108MP camera support, and Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities. It’s still packing the familiar octa-core arrangement though, featuring two Cortex-A76 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores.
Moving lower down the totem pole, we have the Helio G70 and G80/G85. They’re not as powerful as the above-mentioned chipsets but they still seem to offer great performance at this tier. The processors offer octa-core CPUs (two Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores), Mali-G52 MC2 graphics, and support for 48MP cameras. In other words, they line up well with the likes of the Snapdragon 665 and 662.
The Helio G series has landed inside the Redmi Note 8 2021, Redmi Note 10S, and the Realme Narzo range. So those looking for a solid experience in the budget segment should definitely consider phones with Helio G chips.
MediaTek’s mid-range to budget tier Helio P series has been around for ages, dating back to 2016’s Helio P10. This chip family has largely been usurped by the Helio G series, but the most capable members in this range right now are the Helio P90 and P95.
The P95 is essentially a mild upgrade to the P90 that we first saw at the end of 2018, and we really do stress the term “mild.” The two processors share the same octa-core CPU design (two Cortex-A75 and six Cortex-A55 cores), the same PowerVR GM 9446 GPU, and the same camera capabilities. In the case of the latter, that means 64MP sensor support, multi-frame noise reduction, and 4K recording.
In fact, the only major difference we can tell between the two chipsets is that the P95 now sports the company’s HyperEngine gaming enhancements. Either way, the processors also sport solid machine learning hardware, such as an APU, and a dedicated AI Accelerator.
The Helio P series has generally made way for the Helio G line.
The Helio P65 is next on the totem-pole, launching in mid-2019. And it’s really a cross between the P9X series and the Helio G70/G80. That means a relatively powerful octa-core CPU (two Cortex-A75 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores), budget-tier Mali-G52 MC2 graphics, Bluetooth 5, and 48MP camera support.
Probably the biggest downside, however, is that the processor lacks dedicated AI silicon. So machine learning tasks (e.g. image recognition, machine vision, face recognition/unlock) will consume more juice than on the previously mentioned SoCs.
|Helio P95||Helio P90||Helio P60/P70||Helio P65|
Helio P95:2x Cortex-A75
Helio P90:2x Cortex-A75
Helio P60/P70:4x Cortex-A73
Helio P65:2x Cortex-A75
Helio P95:IMG PowerVR GM 9446
Helio P90:IMG PowerVR GM 9446
Helio P60/P70:Mali-G72 MP3
Helio P65:Arm Mali-G52 MC2
Helio P95:64MP single
Helio P90:64MP single
Helio P60/P70:32MP single
24MP+16MP dual (P60)
20MP+16MP dual (P70)
48MP snapshot (P70)
Helio P65:48MP single
Helio P95:APU 2.0
Helio P90:APU 2.0
Helio P60/P70:APU 1.0
MediaTek’s P60 and P70 are older and a little less capable than the Helio P65 in many ways, launching in 2018. These chips offer older CPU cores, the Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, and Bluetooth 4.2. Furthermore, the Helio P60 and P70 only have basic snapshot support for 48MP cameras, so you can’t expect multi-frame processing (e.g. HDR, night mode) at this resolution.
The P60 and P70 have one ace up their sleeve though, and that’s dedicated AI silicon. So tasks like face unlock, AI-powered photography, and other ML-related activities should be more efficient here. As for specific differences between the P60 and P70, the P70 simply has slightly faster CPU and GPU clock speeds, as well as a slightly more efficient AI processor.
We haven’t actually seen any new entries in this family for a couple of years, so we’re guessing that the Helio G has picked up where the Helio P line left off.
MediaTek’s low-end processors
MediaTek has a reputation for delivering low-end chips for entry-level phones. It’s slowed down in this regard over the years in favor of the mid-range segment, but it still has a notable presence at the ~$100 tier.
The firm’s low-end offerings are characterized by featuring lightweight Cortex-A53 CPU cores only (no heavy-lifting cores here), basic graphical capabilities, and 60Hz refresh rate support at best. Don’t expect to see 4K recording or 5G here either.
MediaTek’s most recent low-end chips are the Helio G35 and G25. Despite being part of the gaming-focused G series, these aren’t suitable for anything more than extremely lightweight 3D and 2D games. The firm also has a few near-identical, older chips that still see plenty of adoption, namely the Helio P35, Helio P22, and Helio A25.
All of these processors sport octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU cores, low-end PowerVR GE8320 graphics, and efficient, 12nm designs. Camera capabilities are pretty modest too, with none of the chipsets supporting more than 25MP shooters at best (nevermind 48MP).
|Helio P35/G35||Helio P22/G25||Helio A25||Helio A22||Helio A20|
Helio P35/G35:8x Cortex-A53
Helio P22/G25:8x Cortex-A53
Helio A25:8x Cortex-A53
Helio A22:4x Cortex-A53
Helio A20:4x Cortex-A53
Helio P35/G35:IMG PowerVR GE8320
Helio P22/G25:IMG PowerVR GE8320
Helio A25:IMG PowerVR GE8320
Helio A22:IMG PowerVR GE8320
Helio A20:IMG PowerVR GE8300
Helio P35/G35:25MP single
Helio P22/G25:21MP single
Helio A25:16MP single
Helio A22:21MP single
Helio A20:16MP single
Thought those processors were light on features and power? Then the Helio A22 and A20 might surprise you, cutting the CPU core count in half to just a quad-core Cortex-A53 setup. That means lag in system menus and the camera app isn’t out of the question at all.
These lowest of the low-end processors also offer similar entry-level PowerVR GPUs, display resolutions topping out at HD+, and modest camera credentials. But on the plus side, you’re getting Bluetooth 5 capabilities.
That’s about it for our MediaTek chipset guide! We’ll be updating this article periodically to add new chipsets from the Taiwanese silicon designer.